Which is your worst nightmare, getting trapped in the airplane bathroom … or having your pilot get trapped in there?
Luckily for the passengers on Wednesday’s Chautauqua Airlines flight from North Carolina to LaGuardia, there was a co-pilot at the controls, so the plane wasn’t left unattended.
That aside, however, the incident did end up unintentionally causing a mid-air terror scare when the trapped pilot attempted to enlist help in freeing himself from the lavatory. He started banging on the door, and when a passenger sitting nearby came to his help, he told the man to go to the cockpit and inform the crew he was stuck. (Why he didn’t tell the guy to notify the flight attendant instead, we don’t know.)
Unfortunately, when the passenger followed instructions and knocked on the locked cockpit, he caused a terror scare. The co-pilot radioed in to air traffic control that, “The captain disappeared in the back, and, uh, I have someone with a thick foreign accent trying to access the cockpit.” Even worse, the pilot allegedly gave the passenger the secret password to enter the cockpit, but the co-pilot still did not buy his story.
After air traffic control told the co-pilot to make an emergency landing, the pilot finally broke his way out of the bathroom and was able to reassure the ground crew that everything was fine, but the plane was still met by the FBI and the police when it landed in New York.
They may have had even more of an emergency on their hands if this had happened on a RyanAir flight after they take away all but one bathroom on flights.